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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2013 legislative session began this week. The Legislature will spend 105 days considering issues like education funding, transportation infrastructure and health care reform implementation.
I took the oath of office for my second term on Monday. It was incredible to again see the culmination of all that takes place in an election year in Washington's 98 legislative seats, all in one formal ceremony. Then on Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee was sworn in. I had the honor of being the designated member of the House Republican Caucus to escort Gov. Inslee from his office to the House chamber to deliver his inaugural address. (See photo)
It will be an historic session. We have a new governor who has pledged to not raise taxes, a Majority Coalition in the Senate made of 23 Republicans and two Democrats, and a House with a strong Democrat majority. I expect the process will move slowly, and I am hopeful that there will be a strong dynamic of bipartisanship throughout the coming weeks and months.
Education funding will be the largest issue of the session. The state Supreme Court's recent McCleary decision tasks the Legislature with finding another billion dollars for K-12 education. Fortunately, the state is expected to take in between $1.5 billion to $2 billion more in new tax collections over the next two years. Rather than raising taxes for education, the Legislature should act to fund education before any other part of state government. One of the first bills I signed on to this week was House Bill 1174, requiring the Legislature to pass an education budget before any other spending.
I sit on four committees this session: Transportation, Higher Education (I serve as the assistant ranking member), Technology and Economic Development, and Early Learning and Human Services. I am working on several bills that I will mention in future updates.
As I did for the last two years, I plan to send out a weekly e-mail update and also will be recording regular legislative video updates. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you are coming to Olympia, and call or e-mail if you have thoughts on legislation or budgets.
I am honored to represent the 25th Legislative District for a second term. Keep in touch.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000